• 59°

Simple tips can keep one healthy

The Ohio Department of Health on Tuesday officially confirmed the first flu-related pediatric death came from southern Ohio.

Unfortunately, that death, a 15-year-old girl, was from right here in Ironton.

The Ironton High School sophomore, Allison Eastham, died late last month and serves as a reminder that the flu is as serious an illness as it has ever been.

Across the state, about 450 people have been hospitalized with the flu this year compared with only 135 cases at this time a year ago. The spread of the illness has also prompted the closing of a few schools in the northern part of the state.

So what can you do to protect yourself from the flu? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. And those are available at the county and city health departments. Most insurance providers cover the already low-cost vaccine.

The ODH and CDC also recommend a common sense approach to flu prevention. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

At it only takes about 20 seconds to ensure your hands are germ free. Also, to avoid the spread of the flu and any other virus, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

And a good tip to adhere to year round is establishing healthly eating habits and an exercise routine to keep your immune level boosted.

And these tips are just a small time commitment when you consider how much time you’d waste being sick if you contracted the flu.